I have not spent a single cent on Paladins.
And that is strange, because I really don’t see why not. I really enjoy the game, I’m rather invested in it, and I like Hi-Rez. Somewhat.
I did talk about how I feel that Hi-Rez’s business model feels exploitative. Granted, they did made grinding easier since then, but the grind still feels so painfully long. The new champion always seem just that little bit out of reach. And the whole time I was at the champion screen, the Founder’s Pack ad is at the side, silently taunting me for not giving in.
And why should I not? It gives me new skins and unlocks all champions, present and future. It also refunds you all the Gold you’ve spent unlocking champions up to this point too, meaning you have more to spent on Radiant Chests to get cards for everyone. After all, you can’t buy cards with Gold directly, you need to use the Gold to buy Chests, and unlock three random cards that way. And if any of them are duplicates, they are converted into Essence, which is what you use to craft the cards. Why in the world is the method of accessing a key part of the game’s core gameplay so damn convoluted?
You know what? I think that’s why I really don’t want to spend even a dime on Paladins. It feels like they’re actively hindering players from enjoying a core gameplay mechanic fully. And that just irritates me to the point that I feel like taking it out on the devs in my own petty way. Yes, you are not going to get my twenty dollars. I am sure that’ll matter when they get at least a few thousand dollars a day.
I’m not even sure, at this point, that the game’s grind is really as bad as when I wrote the article criticizing Hi-Rez’s business model. I’ve heard nothing about grinding from the playerbase for weeks when I browsed through r/paladins. I might have missed them, honestly, but I still don’t think that grinding is as big an issue to the playerbase in general now. Is it because Hi-Rez has done enough to mitigate it, or have people just accepted it as part of the game now? I don’t know.
But still, I feel that changing the old “buy a card with 1200 gold and that’s it” system and going with the current convoluted Essence system is doing everyone a disservice. I can’t tell who this system actually benefits. Which is a shame, since I like the game. And I like the devs, or at least everyone that isn’t working on Paladin’s business strategies over at Hi-Rez. They are energetic, fun, and are really active in community engagement. Sometimes it feels like Hi-Rez outsources their business strategies to EA sometimes.
Okay, okay, that was a bit far. If EA is actually in charge of Paladins’ business model we’ll need to pay $40 just to play it, and then we need to pay for the chests. And the skins. And the cards. And probably the characters on top of that as well.
But I don’t even think that is the full story too. I barely have time to play games nowadays. I can’t commit as much to Paladins as I did to TF2 back in the day. I spent money on TF2 because I enjoy it, and I was playing a lot of it. I can no longer commit that kind of energy into playing Paladins or TF2. And now that i think of it, that might be why the grinds are getting longer
Not to mention, my microtransactions in TF2 was normally around less than a dollar per purchase due to the Steam marketplace allowing me to directly buy hats with money. Buying cosmetics in Paladins require me to buy a crystal pack, with the cheapest being five dollars. I suppose the smaller, more bite-size purchases makes it easier to stomach as well.
So I suppose it’s not entirely fair to blame Hi-Rez for me not spending money, it’s also partially my fault. Probably mostly my fault.
I feel somewhat guilty about this.